Beyond The Benches

Royals Poised To Make Second Half Push

The ECHL All-Star game happened this past week and by all accounts was a big success. The game marks the unofficial half way point in the 70 game season. Teams like the Allen Americans and the Fort Wayne Komets have led the way in their respecting conferences and some teams have put themselves in a position to make a second half run. No teams has done so more then the Reading Royals. Currently sitting fifth in the eastern conference, the Royals are poised to make a run.

The Royals are in a solid position thanks to a trade 5 days before the season. Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Larry Courville traded defensemen Mike Banwell to Greenville for forward Pat Mullane. Mullane now leads the team in points (24 A, 37 Pts), and has given them the offensive spark they were looking for.

“I wasn’t sure if I expected that much production,” Courville said to the Reading Eagle. “I knew my left side was not as gifted offensively and we needed a guy to do that for us. I thought it was a solid trade for us and also a good trade for Greenville.”

Courville ability to evaluate talent and get the most out of his players is another reason why the Royals will make a push in the second half. Courville took over the team in 2009 in the midst of a 9-23-2 season. In the 2010-11 season, he took the Royals to the conference finals for the first time since 2004 and to the teams first Kelly Cup title in 2012-13. The point being this guy knows how to coach and motivate his teams to get the most out of them.

One thing Courville did this season was he has shifted the teams focus to being more skilled instead of being tough.

“We’re not a real physical team,” said Head Coach Larry Courville to the Reading Eagle. “The physicality in our game is gone a little bit with the speed and the new rules. We’re more puck possession and skill.”

The main reason he says is that is how the league is heading and if he is ahead of the curve it will certainly help the Royals the rest of the season.

The Royals have 31 games left this season and will most certainly be there come playoff time. The will have a hard time catch teams like Fort Wayne but Reading is in a really good spot and are a team that should be feared the second half and beyond.

 

 

Writer: Sean Cahill is an Assignment Editor at ABC 6 In Providence, RI. A New England native, Sean is a huge fan of everything hockey, especially the Boston Bruins. He is also part of a radio show, The Sports Exchange, on Sunday nights. He can be reached on Twitter @CahillSean33.